Zankel Hall allows Carnegie to expand its musical program and provide a flexible, mid-sized hall for artistic growth, completing Andrew Carnegie’s original intent of three great stages under one roof.
Outside the auditorium, the ellipse appears infinite; its curvature leads the audience around to each point of entry to the house. Nested within the ellipse are four freestanding walls, paneled in American Sycamore, that define the acoustic volume. The geometrical contrast in the design echoes the mutability of the Hall’s various stages.
Inserted into the existing building envelope, the entirely new 640-seat theater contains two seating levels and can be reconfigured into three differently-sized end stages, an end stage with orchestra pit , center stage and a flat floor; the space is also used as an educational facility.
Determined largely by acoustical requirements, the multi-use performance hall is a rectangle within a canted reinforced concrete ellipse. This venue maintains Carnegie’s standards of excellence in acoustics, while accommodating the latest in contemporary technology.
Approximately 6,300 cubic yards of bedrock were excavated from below the landmark building to create Zankel Hall, which is directly below Stern Auditorium, Carnegie’s main performance venue, and adjacent an active subway line. Acoustic isolation is absolute, allowing simultaneous performances.
The curved structural walls dramatically reinforce the hall’s individual identity by separating the performance space from the historic building envelope.